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On paper, a matchup between Justin Verlander and Jesus Luzardo looks like a pitcher’s duel, and there’s no reason to think that won’t be the case. Of course, an over/under of 7.5 runs doesn't leave much margin for error, but the under has plus odds, making this worth the risk. Surprisingly, Houston is 59-59-3 O/U this year while Miami is 54-63-4 O/U. The Astros hit the under a little more frequently while on the road, so there are several trends pointing to a low-scoring affair.
Verlander is starting to look like his former self. He ended June with five scoreless innings against the Brewers and then proceeded to post a 1.69 ERA during the month of July before being traded back to the Astros. Verlander hasn’t been quite as perfect in August, yielding five runs over 13 innings across his two starts. But there’s no reason to think that he’ll suddenly struggle against the Marlins. Most of Miami’s hitters have limited at-bats against Verlander in their careers with most struggling against him. With Verlander pitching at least six innings in six of his last eight starts, he figures to go deep in this game while also limiting the damage.
Meanwhile, Luzardo has been nearly as good this year, going 8-7 with a 3.91 ERA. It’s been a little bit of a struggle for him lately, as Luzardo got knocked around by the Yankees in his last start. But the lefty isn’t far removed from pitching to a 2.89 ERA in July. His slump figures to be a temporary thing, especially since Luzardo has pitched much better at home than on the road this season. Plus, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker are a combined 0 for 14 against Luzardo in their careers, so that’s two huge bats in Houston’s lineup that have done nothing against Miami’s starter. While the Astros have a solid lineup, they’ve also scored just one run in two of their last three games. A quality pitcher like Luzardo can keep Houston quiet, so the lefty has a chance to match Verlander on Wednesday and limit the scoring in this game.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
The Blue Jays won a 2-1 nail-biter against the Phillies on Tuesday with their two-game set wrapping up on Wednesday night. That was Philadelphia’s third straight loss whereas the Blue Jays appear to have gotten things back on track after a three-game losing streak. While Aaron Nola is typically who the Phillies want on the mound when they’re trying to stop a losing streak, he hasn’t been as reliable this year as Toronto’s Kevin Gausman, giving the Jays the edge at home.
Nola has a modest 9-8 record and a 4.49 ERA in 2023. He’s never been able to get back on track and has had trouble stringing together quality starts. The fact that Nola allowed just one run on five hits over five innings in his last start is a sign that he may not be as good on Tuesday. In fact, he allowed five runs in each of his previous starts and has conceded at least four earned runs in six of his last 11 starts, showing how erratic he can be. Nola has also failed to go beyond five innings in two of his last three starts, which could leave a lot of heavy lifting to the Philadelphia bullpen. While the Toronto lineup hasn’t been clicking lately, it doesn’t take much for them to get going.
On the other side, Gausman has been excellent all year, pitching to a 3.04 ERA. Somehow, Toronto lost four straight games that Gausman started in late June and July. But the Jays have won two of his last three starts, including his last outing when Gausman threw seven scoreless innings against the Guardians. This is also an ice-cold Philadelphia lineup that has scored just two total runs during the team’s three-game losing streak. It’s a tough ask for the Phillies to get going against Gausman, giving them a narrow path to victory on Wednesday in Toronto.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
For an upset pick on Wednesday, look no further than the Orioles over the Padres. San Diego is a somewhat surprising favorite over the AL East leaders, although that’s largely because Blake Snell is on the mound. However, the Padres have lost seven of their last nine games overall and have been modest home favorites this year, going 27-25. Meanwhile, Baltimore is 25-19 as a road underdog, giving them the fourth-best record in baseball as a road underdog. The Orioles also have Dean Kremer on the mound. He’s more than capable of helping Baltimore bounce back from Tuesday’s 10-3 loss and take Wednesday’s rubber match against the Padres.
As mentioned, Snell has been outstanding lately. The lefty posted a 0.56 ERA during the month of July, dominating one team after another. He hasn’t been quite that dominant in August, but he’s still pitched well enough for San Diego to win both of his starts this month, giving the Padres six wins in Snell’s last eight starts. However, Snell will also be facing the third-best team in baseball against left-handed starters. The Orioles are 27-13 when facing lefties, so this won’t be a cakewalk for Snell. Even if the Orioles have been a little sluggish offensively lately, they have the pieces to give Snell some trouble.
Perhaps more importantly, Baltimore has won Kremer’s last seven starts. While the righty has a modest 4.50 ERA, he’s also 11-4 with the Orioles going 18-6 in the games he’s started. Over his last seven starts, Kremer has allowed two earned runs or less, doing so against teams like the Yankees, Phillies, and Astros. He’s not going to make it easy for the Padres, especially since most of San Diego’s hitters haven’t seen him before. Even though the Padres scored 10 runs on Tuesday, they have also been held to one run or less in four of their last seven games. Ultimately, San Diego isn’t a reliable favorite, giving a ton of value to the Orioles on Wednesday.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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